Newly-released evidence in Kealoha trial includes enhanced video of mailbox theft

Newly-released evidence in Kealoha trial includes enhanced video of mailbox theft

HONOLULU, Hawaii (HawaiiNewsNow) - Newly-released evidence in the public corruption trial against the Kealohas includes enhanced surveillance of the infamous mailbox theft and images inside HPD.

The surveillance video is still grainy and you can’t make out the features of the thief.

But you can see more detail and federal authorities say it was clearly not Gerard Puana, the relative the Kealohas accused of the crime.

The images were part of the government’s exhibits shown to the jury over the first three weeks of trial.

Also in the release: An image captured the inside of the Honolulu Police Department’s Criminal Intelligence Unit office. CIU was the high-level group hand picked by ex-Police chief Louis Kealoha to investigate the mailbox theft. The government describes them as a ‘secret’ unit that served as the personal security detail for the chief.

A day after a federal judge approved a subpoena for the Kealohas’ recordings and surveillance equipment, someone started recording over the hard drive, showing the ceiling of CIU for six straight days.

Near the end of the six days, just minutes before the recording was stopped, the FBI captured a picture of then-CIU Sgt. Alvin Lum, with the ceiling behind him.

Sgt. Alvin Lum seen on camera just before the controversial recording of the CIU ceiling
Sgt. Alvin Lum seen on camera just before the controversial recording of the CIU ceiling

The hard drive is important to the investigation because someone may have loosened the mailbox ahead of time, but the full video cannot be recovered.

Audio recordings were also part of the evidence the jury heard last week.

Interviews of defendants Gordon Shiraishi and Bobby Nguyen with the Honolulu Ethics Commission and during their appearances before the federal grand jury were played.

Bobby Nguyen and his attorney, Randy Hironaka leave federal court
Bobby Nguyen and his attorney, Randy Hironaka leave federal court

Hawaii News Now legal analyst Ken Lawson says contradictions in their testimony from recording to recording were obvious and troubling.

“There’s something about hearing the defendants voice on tape,” he said. "I used to tell my clients all the time, if you commit a crime, here’s my advice to you, ‘cut your tongue out.’”

FBI experts also testified about sharp spikes in text messages and phone calls between some of defendants during key moments of the investigation.

Louis Kealoha, his wife Katherine, a former high-ranking deputy prosecutor, and the three former police officers are all accused of conspiracy and lying.

The 55 witnesses so far have shown there were many connections, but attorney Victor Bakke says it is still a circumstantial case.

“It requires the jury to connect the dots,” Bakke said, “If the juries get lost along that path and don’t follow the bread crumbs you can lose a jury very easily.

The trial resumes Monday morning. The government has a few more witnesses but expects to rest either that afternoon or Tuesday morning.

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